Anna Burns is a Northern Irish author, best known for her Booker Prize-winning novel Milkman. Born and raised in Belfast, Burns has made the Northern Irish Troubles a cornerstone of her literary output, with her debut novel, 2001’s No Bones, centring on a young girl’s coming of age during the violence of the conflict. Burns sharpened the allegorical nature of No Bones for her third, breakout work Milkman, published in 2018. A portrait of a toxic relationship set in a nameless city consumed by sectarian bloodshed, Milkman was a thinly-veiled critique of the Troubles and scooped that year’s Booker Prize. In between these two books, Burns wrote a blackly comic crime novel called Little Constructions, in 2007, and a wry novella called Mostly Hero in 2014.
Anna Burns’ blistering Orwell and Man Booker Prize-winning novel displaces the Northern Irish troubles to a nameless city populated by anonymous citizens. The power games and creeping psychopathy of Milkman’s central relationship expertly echo the toxic atmosphere and fanaticism of bullet-riddled Belfast, succeeding in making the novel a powerful political statement as well as a brilliantly disquieting study of ruinous obsession.